(this is a continuation in a series, read Part 1 here, https://chatstarter.com/post.php?post_id=1557892 and Part 2 here, https://chatstarter.com/post.php?post_id=1558124).

Here’s why Elon Musk is being judged so harshly for his tweets and why it’s a big deal.

For Elon, Twitter is a place to express himself and also a place to connect with his supporters and fans.  Elon, at times, uses Twitter better than anybody to keep people updated and engaged in the products of Tesla and the happenings of SpaceX.

However, Twitter has also become an achilles heel of sorts for Elon, and it threatens to try to take him down.  To understand this, one must understand how Elon thinks.

Elon is a very strong egalitarian who believes in the idea of meritocracy, or more specifically that the best idea should win.  Elon structures his companies based on these principles and Elon is constantly pushes and encouraging others to share their ideas, no matter what position they hold.

Elon knows that innovation and progress come from better ideas, and not from position, tradition or hierarchy.  Thus, Elon correctly pushes and asserts for a culture of meritocracy in all his endeavors.

However, at times Elon will take those values onto Twitter and engage in debating or arguing with people, believing that the best idea will win.  However, most often his arguing on Twitter is taken the wrong way at least by some people and it’s been a net negative for Elon.

The reason for this is because Twitter by nature is a lopsided platform and there are a lot of mean people on Twitter.  Let me explain.

Person A has 10 million followers on Twitter.
Person B has 20 followers on Twitter.

Person A and B engage in an argument on Twitter, and it degenerates into name-calling.  Person B might start it and call Person A an “asshole”.  And Person A responds calling Person B a “moron.”

Person A might think that him calling Person B a “moron” is less offensive than being called an “asshole”, which Person B called him.  So, in Person A’s mind everything is fine.

However, on Twitter there’s a different dynamic in effect.  And it’s the dynamic of the masses, and of biased and mean crowd/mob mentality.

Person B calls Person A an “asshole” and nobody cares because nobody sees it.

However when Person A calls Person B a “moron”, all of Person A’s millions of followers see that tweet and if Person A if famous and influential, then many people assume Person A is correct.  Then, there’s some people who are just really mean.  They aren’t the majority and are a slim minority, but they are just mean.  Out of Person A’s 10 million followers, let’s say there are 10,000 really mean people.  Because they are mean, they go after Person B just because Person A did so.  And they’re more mean than Person A.

As a result, Person B gets harassed and called a multitude of crass names from Person A’s followers.  And Person B even gets death threats.  (Note: this is a hypothetical situation.)  And Person B also finds him/herself plastered in the media with Person A’s labeling them a “moron”.  To the world, Person B has become a “moron” and there’s not much Person B can do about it because they only have 20 followers.

This is why arguments aren’t fair on Twitter.

And it’s really why Elon shouldn’t be engaging in arguments and calling people names on Twitter.  It will most likely NEVER work out in Elon’s favor.

Yet Elon continues to do this.  Why?

It’s because Elon is projecting his own personal values onto Twitter, thinking that the Twitterverse also is a meritocracy where the best ideas wins, thus arguing is fine and if it degenerates into name-calling, well people move on.

However, Elon is discounting the more complicated dynamics at play, and he’s discounting that there are 10,000 (my example guess) really mean people among his followers who will use his every tweet and harass people.

One example is the Twitter argument Elon got into with the farting unicorn artist’s daughter.  It was a complete net negative for Elon as almost all media outlets who covered the story (which a lot did) portrayed Elon as a bully.  Again, this is because Twitter isn’t a meritocracy, or maybe it is with debates between people with no followers.  But a debate between a celebrity of sorts and a non-celebrity is not a true debate on Twitter.  It’s an ugly spat, and the person who comes out a loser is the celebrity in almost every case.

If Elon was to have made this mistake just once, then it would not be a big deal.  But Elon has been making this mistake very often this past year.  Not just with the “pedo” guy tweets, or the farting unicorn issue, but he’s been getting into it with other people such as journalists and even attacking the media industry.

Elon attacking journalists on Twitter again is a huge net negative and loss for Elon.  Elon with his 20M+ followers is going to be seen as the bully every time, regardless of what the argument is about.  And the journalist arguing with Elon will be seen as the victim, by most everyone.  And what’s worse about this one, is that fellow journalists will commiserate with their colleague and will write harsh attacking articles against Elon because they feel it’s their duty to fight against a billionaire bully (again this is their view).

Every time Elon engages in these spats on Twitter, it only reinforces certain people’s view that Elon is a bully and a billionaire out of control with his power.  It triggers a certain adverse reaction from people who want to fight against Elon as a moral duty to fight against injustice.  And these are really not the people you want to rile up against you.  Really, Elon and those fighting injustice should be on the same side, fighting against climate change, and trying to save the world.  However, sadly this past year the two sides have turned against each other.  And it’s become ugly.

What’s even worse is that Elon is being thrown into the political arena as a target.  Let me explain.  The world is becoming an increasingly polarized place in terms of political and cultural beliefs.  We have a lot of unhappy people, on both sides of the spectrum.  This anger is often channeled onto scapegoats and it’s unfortunate.  But Elon has been sticking his head out through his Twitter mistakes, which has led to an onslaught of negative media coverage.  And this is what the polarized extremists have latched onto.  Meaning, you can find plenty of conservative extremists and liberal extremists that dislike Elon because over this past year, he’s been plastered on almost every media outlet as an out-of-control billionare bully.  Both sides of extremist feel it’s their duty to stop Elon.  And that sentiment permeates to other parts of society.  And I’ve argued in Part 2, it’s sadly affected the SEC’s case against Elon.

For Elon to effectively reverse the damage that’s been done on Twitter, Elon needs to come to an understanding that his Twitter spats are very damaging and far outweigh any perceived benefit he might see in expressing himself and seeing the best ideas win.

My hope is that this blog post (and this series) can be helpful toward that outcome.

Also, for those Tesla bulls who think I might be criticizing Elon and giving fuel to bears, please take a step back and realize that I’m a huge ardent supporter of Tesla and Elon and we’re all looking for constructive solutions.  Also, please save judgment until you’ve read the entire series of blog posts, as I’ll share more comprehensive suggestions/recommendations in my last blog post.

Note: I’d love to hear your thoughts and discuss.  Feel free to comment below.